Signs of Life
How our culture promotes judgmental views about housekeeping
My daughter came home from a friend's house and told me, “That was the cleanest house I’ve ever seen and they kept talking about how messy it was.”
This got me thinking about how our culture conditions people to do this. I realized that I was doing it as a reflex. The pressure is real though. If you’ve seen this Chris Fleming video, you know what I’m talking about.
We just moved to a townhouse and although we still have a bunch of boxes lying around, we haven’t had time to accumulate much dirt and clutter. Whenever someone comes over, I find myself apologizing for the “mess,” even if we just cleaned. One friend even mentioned how: a) The house wasn’t actually that messy, and b) it made them feel insecure about the state of their own house.
Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of guests over at our house unless we cleaned our asses off. Our dirty house was a source of shame. It was messy pretty much all the time. My hyperactive brother ran around leaving sticky hand prints on everything and cookie crumbs in his wake. Clutter was a constant battle. Our solution was to never let anyone inside unless we’d had a chance to clean, which was almost never.
My husband had a similar experience, hanging out at friends houses instead of inviting them over to his. As adults and new homeowners, we want to have lots of guests. I figured we’ll just do our best to keep it clean, but not obsess about it. This is reality, not Instagram.
I assumed that everyone else was naturally much cleaner than us and we were abnormal for not being able to maintain a clean house. I have always given other people the benefit of the doubt. If friends are inviting me over to their house, I am just happy to be there. I don’t care about the mess. As long as there’s a place for me to sit, I’m good. In this respect, I am much kinder to other people than I am to myself.
It’s all relative. Everyone’s got a different threshold for dirt and mess. I’ve known people who had to boil their utensils immediately before using them and others who are comfortable with a little cat hair in their food.
When it comes to housekeeping, there are three main factors to consider.
1. Economic Status - Full time jobs don’t really leave much time for cleaning AND relaxing and most budgets do not allow for maid services.
2. Neurological differences / mental and physical health - Those with ADHD can find it difficult to get started and focus on cleaning tasks. Depression and chronic illness can make it difficult to even get out of bed let alone clean.
3. Help From Family Members - Is one person in the family shouldering all or most of the cleaning? Is one person handling the mental load of reminding everyone else to help with household chores? Having a partner who will take initiative can make a huge difference.
In my research on this topic, I stumbled onto social media star, Auri Katariina’s instagram videos. Auri cleans people’s homes for free. Of course, everything on social media should be viewed with a certain degree of cynicism. She is sponsored by a company that sells cleaning products, after all. But I like her approach.
Unlike the TV show Hoarders, where the homeowners are paraded in front of the camera to be gawked at, she’s not shaming people, she’s just giving them a fresh start. Watching these videos gives the viewer a sense of catharsis. This adorable woman seems to genuinely enjoy cleaning and offers easy cleaning tips for the rest of us.
I think we would all do better to give and receive help in this way. We should give ourselves and each other a little slack. Our lives are not always so simple. A clean and tidy home is nice, but we are all human. Being human is messy business.
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That was so amazing I loved that. https://www.tellculvers.onl/
That kind of pressure is so strange and unnecessary. Great job expressing that!
Very Good Lession
This resonates with me. It's something have experienced and still experiencing. Thank you for your thoughtful insights
Best Life lessons will adopt from your content, well written
Wow, this article really resonated with me. It's comforting to know that others feel the same way.
Thank you for this lovely and heart touching story
So glad I read this I currently folding laundry and washing more laundry and have a sink full of dishes to get washed before going to bed. I'm so tired. lol. I like how you emphasize about how hard it is to keep a clean house while working full time. Subscribed and hearted. Well done and congratulations on Top story.
I love Auri! She operates with such compassion. I can't believe there was a time in our history when it was socially acceptable to shame people severely in need of help on shows like hoarders.
Ok that video had me cackling! Thanks for sharing. I saw myself in that video because I am a neat freak. I don’t even like the maintenance man to come into my apartment if a single thing is out of place. I also find cleaning to be very therapeutic, and help with creativity. I once got a job as a housekeeper because I like cleaning so much. During those 8 hour shifts, I was constantly having inspiration strike, and putting ideas in the notes app on my phone. I know me apologizing for my “mess” makes others feel bad when there isn’t one; I’m trying to be better about that.
Your 3 main factors were spot on! Number 2 especially resonated with me deeply. Auri Katariina seems like such a sweet person. This was an excellent and much needed article!
Thanks for these messy words of wisdom- much needed!
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. My fiance and I do a lot of entertaining and we both stress on this point. This made me feel a lot better. Sharing your article with him 🤗
Can you ask her to come and clean my house? The maid has not showed up for the past ten years and I've just about had it!
A realistic article that I enjoyed reading. I have no idea how my Mom worked full time and kept our house amazingly clean.
I like this! It’s simple and straightforward and smart!
I was obsessive about cleanliness before I had kids. Always throwing things away and putting them out of sight. It’s been very hard for me to let go of that and let them live in the house now too. Thanks for the kind take on this 😁
Great article. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the Top Story.
I appreciated this article so much!! I was raised in a museum of a house where nothing was to be out of place. While I still believe everything should have a place to go at the end of the day, it is not something I strive for anymore. Thank you for sharing these insights. I enjoyed the read. Congratulations on Top Story!!